We used primary data collected from 163 households in an off-grid Rwandan village to provide insights into energy poverty at the household-level. Informed by the rural livelihoods literature, we constructed a novel asset- and income-based index to disaggregate our results by socio-economic status. We also employed microeconometric techniques to investigate the determinants of household willingness-to-pay for electricity. We found statistically significant differences between households of different socio-economic status for expenditure on lighting and other electricity services, willingness-to-pay for electricity, income-generating activities and food security. Overall, our findings suggest that initiatives aiming to end energy poverty and catalyze rural development should: (1) recognize the different potential impacts of policies on households of different socio-economic status; (2) be sensitive to energy stacking behavior; (3) take a holistic approach to rural development; (4) and ensure that households are able to access modern energy through flexible payment schemes and equitable and sustained improvements in income.
May 26 2016
Insights from an energy poor Rwandan village
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